When you are giving birth, your focus is on bringing your new daughter or son into the world. You probably are not thinking about whether your baby might suffer a potentially serious injury during delivery or if your obstetrician has made a mistake. But the consequence of a preventable birth injury can be serious.
Immediate symptoms of a possible birth injury
As a new mother, you may notice in the moments and hours after giving birth that things are not right with your newborn. Here are six signs of a possible birth injury in an infant.
- Blue or pale skin
- Slow breath and/or heart rate, possibly requiring resuscitation
- Lethargy or sluggishness
- Stiff or floppy body
- Unusual movements in their limbs, face or other body parts
- Abnormal reflex reactions, such as failure to respond to a noise or object
These conditions could be symptomatic of serious birth injuries that lead to disorders like cerebral palsy and brachial plexus palsy. Both of these can be caused by nerve damage before or during delivery. A lack of oxygen to the infant can cause brain damage that leads to cerebral palsy, which can cause poor motor skills development, weakness and muscle spasms. Injury to the baby’s hands and arms can lead to brachial plexus palsy, which affects the child’s ability to move their arms.
What to do if your doctor caused a birth injury
Some birth injuries can be treated in childhood. Others will affect your child for the rest of their life. If your doctor or another member of the medical team is responsible for your child’s birth injury, they and the hospital they work for could be held responsible. The funds from a successful medical malpractice lawsuit cannot reverse what happened. But it can help your child thrive and adapt to their disability.